ring finger/pinky numbness??

Does anyone have or had a numbness in left hand ring finger, pinky finger down to the palm at side of hand? I have had this since open heart surgery CABGx3 8 months ago. Heart surgeon said wait 6 months, now it's wait 12 months, then see a neurologist. They say its some kind of nerve damage, your arms are pulled above and behind you during the surgery, or from pulling the chest open and stretching everything??? its not painful, just a nuisance except for guitar playing with the left hand required to make chords and typing on a computer.


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Do you by any chance ever sleep on your stomach with your arms folderd under your pillow? I ask because I developed numbness and tingling in my left hand and wrist about 2 months after surgery. I had one doctor tell me I had carpal tunnel, another said I had nerve damage and I was told to wait it out. It continued and even worsened slightly. Then a lady on the WomenHeart site asked me the same question I am asking you. Turns out since I could not sleep on my stomach for so long after surgery, that was my new sleeping position without me being aware of it.

Having my arms in that position with my head laying on my hands night after night compressed some nerves. Once I became aware of it, I would force myself to change position when I woke up with my arms under my pillow. Amazing! It went away almost immediately. I still end up in that position - I don't know why. But I know if I avoid it for a few nights, the numbness and tingling go away. Once less worry since I know what it is.

Just something strange to consider - you never know!

Take care -

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It was actually in both hands, the right hand is ok after 6 months, the left hand is the same as it was after the surgery, I noticed it after i left critical care. I do not sleep on my stomach it is usually sides and back plus I am sure I toss and turn i would rather sleep in a chair like in the hospital, but that is not good for leg circulation so they tell me. It was get back to normal with everything, but I am not Normal LOL!! One other issue that could be involved, several years ago I rolled a SUV off a road (of course at highway speeds )with black ice on it in Wyoming, broke my left shoulder. had surgery with steel pins holding everything together for 8 weeks, left arm was useless for a while but came back with rehab and recovered almost 100%. My heart surgeon seems to think when they tie your arms over and back for the surgery one of the nerves that runs from that area i cannot remember the medical jargon could have been damaged, plus since my heart quit after going through the double doors to surgery my surgeon just said we had to work fast, one of the surgical nurses came to vist me later and said i scared the daylights out of them and they probably set a record putting me on a heart lung machine. so I am leaning toward this scenario for now and will wait 4 more months. It is just another inconvenience, even as i type this I make extra typos because of it, you know the routine many aches and pains come, go, or stay and it can wear you down. thanks for the friend/message responce's it really helps me,

Take Care,

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This isn't exactly the same, but my big toe on my right foot is numb or tingles, especially at the end of the day. It has felt this way since I came out of surgery, almost 8 weeks ago. At first, when I was in bed all day, I thought it could be cause by crossing my ankles a certain way for hours at a time, but now that I'm up and around, it doesn't seem any better. My Dr. thinks I'm crazy, but I've heard of other unusual numbness after all kinds of surgery, and it usually goes away, no I'm not that worried. It just seems strange that heart surgery could cause toe numbness!

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Thanks for the reply, I have numbness in left ankle and outside of left thigh but that is where the veins were harvested, does not bother me that much. But fingers are more of a problem, i am waiting 3 more months with the issue and will see a neurologist per my heart surgeon. Your doctor should not think your crazy!! i suppose they hear this stuff all the time from us paitients, One of my rehab nurses (she is a good nurse) would kind of blow me off with numbness complaints i would have, "it will go away, don't worry" then one day she broke her foot at home, came to rehab with a boot cast on and would complain about numbness, Of course being a smartass i reminded her "it will go away in a year, now leave me alone and quit complaining" LOL, surprisingly she stated i guess we talk to you patients like that, and i know the feelings you have now.

thanks for talking
Take Care , Rick

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Its almost 3 months since my surgery and I have a numbness in my left thigh the same leg that they harvest the vein from. Doc said It couldn't be from the operation.,.......geez do I look dumb? It has gotten better day by day but sometimes it gets so bad it burns but it goes away in a few minutes. Id rather have it where I have it and not the fingers like you have it, I play the guitar also and the saxophone. I hope in time yours will go away too. At least we are alive, so what's a little numbness here and there.

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I have gotten use to the numbness in leg and fingers to a point after 9 months post op, the fingers are more of an issue, but is is great to be alive. Before the vein is removed from the leg they go in with some type of camera and attempt to free the vein as much as possible prior to extraction, my right thigh is ok, the left thigh/ankle has the numbness. It certainly is from the operation, they try to make the extraction as smooth as they can, but probably some nerves are damaged in the process.

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I am about 10 months post-op and I have always had this numbness in my left fingers come and go. Usually I just shake it out........it can be annoying at times. I just usually pass it off as something that goes with the territory of having had the surgery....so I don't worry about it. I mentioned it to my doctor the first couple of months, and he just blew it off.

BTW, I didn't know about the "arms being tied above your head" during surgery! Anybody have any other anecdotes about surgery prep and what they did while we were "under" (besides the normal thing we would already know about the bypass)? I would be really interested in knowing. Thanks!

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I had my first triple bypass in November 2009. After waking up, I discovered that my left thumb and the palm area around it did not function well. I was unable to snap my fingers and I was unable to grab items such as a glass without assistance of my right hand. I didn't know this at first, but I now had what was known as "ape hand."

During the following month I went to therapy and had my nerves tested. I was told that I had nerve damage in my right arm. I was also told that therapy may assist in getting my thumb back to normal in a year, if at all.

I had the bad luck of my graphs failing and I had to have a double bypass in February 2010. After waking up, I discovered that my thumb was back to almost completely normal.

It appears that during the course of my first surgery, nerve or nerves were pinched. The second surgery appears to have released the pressure on the nerve and my hand returned to normal.

It would seem that a second open-heart surgery was required to get my hand back to normal., but I wouldn't recommend it. Given the choice I think I would've stayed with my thumb problem. Good Luck.

Just a side note, my graphs are again failing. It appears my body may be rejecting them.

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